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    Opinion Column at Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Buy a drink; you’re in a government database

    At his blog for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Barr has written about privacy and databases. Barr is a former congressman and presidential candidate (for the Libertarian Party), and currently heads consulting firm Liberty Strategies. He also has been the 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union.

    In the state of Utah, if you go into a club and purchase a drink, and if you appear to be “35 years old or younger,” a new state law requires the bartender or waiter to electronically scan your driver’s license in order to verify your age. Of course, scanning your license electronically provides a database of who is purchasing alcoholic beverages, where, when and it what quantities; information then available to the government. All this simply because a person decides to have a drink in a club that sells alcoholic beverages.

    Failure by a club to thus electronically scan a patron’s driver’s license subjects the club to civil and potential criminal sanctions. […] Failure to produce a driver’s license means a person would be refused service altogether. […]

    But, hey, what’s more important — the freedom to sell or enjoy a beer, or the desire by the government to require you surrender your privacy and personal information into a database?

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